Responsible travel: Golden Eagle Festival in Mongolia
In western Mongolia, deep within the Altai mountain range, an ancient tradition of hunting with Golden Eagles is still alive. The Berkut Association, a Community Association for the Preservation of Kazakh Traditions and Conservation of Golden Eagles, founded the Golden Eagle Festival in order to help revive this remarkable tradition and promote it among the younger generations. In their effort to preserve their traditional heritage and promote conservation of the Golden Eagle, local Kazakhs have partnered with tour companies to bring adventurous travelers to this festival which is organized by local people for local people. All proceeds from the festivalís ticket sales go to the Berkut Association, which will use these funds to further the goals of the organization. On this trip we will stay at the home of an eagle trainer where you can learn more about the craft of training eagles while you immerse yourself in the daily life of the Kazakh minority in Mongolia. We will be sourcing our supplies and hiring local drivers out of Ulgii.
We have established long lasting partnerships with families from many ethnic clans throughout Mongolia, particularly with those that are contributing to keeping alive ancient traditions and art forms, from hunting with Golden Eagles to making felt carpets and khoomi (throat singing). As part of every trip we arrange visits and overnight stays with local families. You benefit by having access to experiences that are rarely available to the casual visitor, and your appreciation of traditional cultural practices and art forms contributes to their continued survival. We also source as many of our services from local suppliers as possible, including renting horses and pack animals, buying produce, meat, and dairy products, hiring local guides, and arranging for special performances or demonstrations of local skills and crafts. By traveling with us you will help support people who keep alive and contribute to the livelihoods of herders and trades people in rural Mongolia.
Because of our committment to responsible travel, all guides on our trips are Mongolians. The guide is after all the person you will spend the most time with on your trip, and we believe it is important that your guide be a local person in order to give you the best possible sense of Mongolian culture, traditions, and customs, as well as first hand knowledge about the environment, wildlife, economics, or whatever your interest may be. We invest a great deal into our guide training program in order to enable our team to function at a professsional level that allows us to give staff opportunities for promotion, and our staff is paid well above national average wages.